ARENA – London Royal Arch Digest – Winter 2022/23

Here are just a few of the London Royal Arch Chapters that met over the Winter of 2022/23 within dedicated Masonic Halls and Centres from Chingford to Harrow, Ealing to Croydon, and Southgate to Penge as well as in hotels and Livery Halls throughout central London.

London’s Royal Arch Chapters and Freemasons continue to revel in each other’s company once again with a flurry of installations, inductions, proclamations, 50-year certificates, Centenaries and an exciting number of exaltations taking place. Following wonderful convocations full of fervency and zeal, London’s Royal Arch Masons continue to relax and socialise together, breaking bread and raising their glasses, fully embracing the true meaning of companionship.

Mount Sion Chapter No 22 has a rich and long history, being over two hundred years old. The Chapter met at Freemasons’ Hall on the 28th October in the presence of Metropolitan Grand Inspector E Comp Ian Burgess.  It was founded under the warrant of the Lodge of Prudent Brethren No 195, which changed its number to 169 and then to 145, and only in 1866, when it was attached to Neptune Lodge, did they assume the current number of 22.  The association with Pickwick Lodge No 2467 was another move, and its members now hail from a variety of Lodges, including, more recently, Kypros Lodge No 8595, and they continue to forge new connections with Lodges, which is key for the Chapter’s continued success. The festive board complimented the meeting excellently, providing a convivial atmosphere for the members. They very much look forward to their 225th anniversary in 2034.

On 1st November, Paulatim Chapter No 4234 met at MMH for its 76th anniversary in the presence of Metropolitan Grand Inspector E Comp Robert Lakic and received a short presentation on the Chapter’s 75 years thus far from E Comp Michael Crombie

At Freemasons’ Hall on 2nd November, Tower Chapter No 5159 met for the double exaltation of Bros Arthur Gregory and Israel Lewenhaupt in the presence of Metropolitan Grand Inspector E Comp Wayne Hirst, dining at the Doubletree at Hilton.

On 5th November, Imperial College Chapter No 4536 met and dined at Mark Masons’ Hall to exalt Bros Matheus Rizzotto and Duke Ludera welcoming a visit from Metropolitan Grand Inspector E Comp Robert Lakic.

At Southgate Masonic Hall, N14, on the 5th November, East and West Chapter No 5410 conducted the double exaltation of Bros Brian Larholm and Ray Sullivan in the presence of Metropolitan Grand Inspector E Comp John Burnapp.

On 8th November, Haymarket Chapter No 6271 met for its installation at Duke Street when E Comps Christo Hammes and Chris Smith were installed as third and second principals, respectively, observed by Metropolitan Grand Inspector E Comp Tony Shepherd.

On 10th November, Grecia Chapter No 1105 received a visit from the Deputy Metropolitan Grand Superintendent, E Comp Timothy L’Estrange, PGSN, who witnessed an exaltation ceremony for Bro Donal de Blacam. Of London’s 500 Royal Arch chapters, over 95% work one of two rituals – Domatic (294 chapters) or Aldersgate (196 chapters). The other chapters work rarer forms of the ritual, with a total of 15 different rituals in use in London chapters. The oldest form of the Royal Arch ritual in London is Perfect Ceremonies, which dates right back to the time of the 1813 union, and probably beyond that, into pre-union days. Today just one Chapter in London still works Perfect Ceremonies ritual – Grecia Chapter No 1105. The Chapter originally met in Cairo but returned to London at a difficult time when Masonry was banned in Egypt.

On 15th November, Sir Thomas White Chapter No 1820 met at Freemasons’ Hall, where a presentation of a Supreme Grand Chapter certificate was made to Comp Martin Nicholls by E Comp Metropolitan Grand Inspector Tony Shepherd before retiring to dine at Browns, Charing Cross Road.

On 2nd December, Temple Chapter at Jerusalem No 4611 met at Mark Masons’ Hall to exalt Bro Robert Sturrock and partook in a joyous Christmas festive board within the Hall.

At Freemasons’ Hall, on 6th December, the members of Scots Chapter No 2310 convened for the double exaltation of Bros John Hetherington and Brenton Johnston. A wonderfully festive dinner was enjoyed at the DoubleTree Hilton, replete with a piper, the customary addresses to the haggis and seemingly bottomless bottles of whiskey. The Scots Chapter is blessed with three ‘blood brothers’ Phillip, David and Paul Gwinn and in 2012, all simultaneously occupied the three principals chairs!

On the 20th December, the companions of Mount Sinai Chapter No 19 enjoyed a fabulous Christmas-themed dinner in the company of Metropolitan Grand Inspector E Comp Wayne Hirst following their convocation at Freemasons’ Hall.

At Freemasons’ Hall on the 2nd of December, Highgate Chapter No 1366 conducted a double exaltation ceremony, which brought the number of their 2022 exaltees to five, with another three in the pipeline. Metropolitan Grand Inspector E Comp Paul Armstrong presented the Exaltee’s Guides and a Supreme Grand Chapter Certificate before a delightful dinner was enjoyed at the theatrical Sarastro restaurant in nearby Drury Lane.

On 24th January at Duke St, St James Avenue, Chapter No 3231 met, where the three principals delivered the mystical, symbolical and historical lectures in the presence of the Most Excellent Second Grand Principal, Russell Race, and the members elected to donate a total of £3,000 to four charities.

Wantage Chapter No 3178 met and dined at Mark Masons’ Hall on 21st February.

At Freemasons’ Hall on the 9th  of February, Anglo-Dutch Chapter No 5862 received a talk from E Comp Chris Jeffery entitled ‘Some differences between the Craft and the Royal Arch’ in the company of Metropolitan Grand Inspector E Comp John Peters.

On 11th February, Five Orders Chapter No 3696 met and dined at Chingford Masonic Hall and exalted Bro Michael Porter.

At Freemasons’ Hall on 7th February, Royal Air Force Chapter No 7335 received E Comp Wayne Hirst, Metropolitan Grand Inspector, escorted by E Comp Ebenezer Abbey Metropolitan Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies.

On 18th February, a rejuvenated Aldersgate Chapter No 1657 received Metropolitan Grand Inspector E Comp Paul Armstrong at Freemasons Hall before retiring for a vibrant dinner at the Army & Navy Club, Pall Mall.

At Freemasons Hall, on 22nd February, Metropolitan Grand Inspector, E Comp Robert Lakic visited Maida Vale Chapter No 2743 to witness the exaltation of Bro Daniel Holliday and to present a 50-year long service certificate to E Comp Frank Godson, SLGCR.

On 18th February, Johann Gutenberg Chapter No 5593 met at Freemasons Hall to exalt Bro Michael Bateman.

Bro Michael Michael was exalted, at Freemasons Hall on the 24th of February, into Chapter of Perseverance No 1743 with a wonderful festive board enjoyed at the Bloomsbury Thistle. 

On 25th February 2023, Alexandra Palace Chapter No 1541 marked its 100th year since consecration with an excellent exaltation meeting at Freemasons Hall in the presence of Metropolitan Grand Inspector, E Comp David Ellis, OBE, which included over a dozen guests. The Companions then dined in good fellowship at The Hilton by DoubleTree on Southampton Row and look forward to their 300th convocation in October 2023.

On 28th February, St Catherine’s Caledonian Chapter No 3743 met at Furniture Makers Hall, EC2, in the presence of a full visiting team, including Metropolitan Grand Inspector E Comp Tony Shepherd, for the installation of three new principals, and hosted a wonderful Blue Table Burns Night Dinner, welcoming four Master Masons.

At West London Masonic Centre, Ealing W13, on the 27th February, Royal Alfred Chapter No 780 welcomed Metropolitan Assistant Grand Superintendent, E Comp Ian Clark to witness the double exaltation of Bros Michael Chilton and Daniel Teasdale and to present a 50-year long service certificate to E Companion Derek Muston.

At Croydon Masonic Hall on 4th March, Lewisham Chapter No 2579 received a Lecture from Comp Scribe Ezra, E Comp Trevor Raymond entitled ‘What we may have forgotten about Royal Arch Masonry’.

On the morning of 4th March, St Pauls Chapter No.194 welcomed Metropolitan Grand Inspectors E Comps Nick Critchlow and Ian Burgess at Chingford Masonic Hall, E4, enjoying a customary ‘Full English Breakfast’ lunch. St Paul’s is a Widows Sons and Motorcycle enthusiasts Chapter.

On 21st November Connaught Chapter No 3270 welcomed Assistant Metropolitan Grand Superintendent, E Comp Simon White to their centenary celebrations at Duke St, St James’s followed by a wonderful celebratory lunch at the Kennel Club, Clarges St. Connaught Chapter (and Lodge) draws its members from the Kennel Club.

On 24th November Ealing and Northern Lights Chapter No 2662 received a visit from Metropolitan Grand Inspector, E Comp Robert Lakic at the West London Masonic Centre.

On 15th February In Arduis Fidelis Chapter No 3432 met at Freemasons’ Hall to exalt Bro Anthony Clayton.

On 28th January Lewis Chapter No 1185 Exalted Bro Alexander Le Clercq at Freemasons’ Hall.

This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 51 December 2022 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons – Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.

Read more articles in the Arena Issue 51 here.